A sarape is a colorful garment worn by the people of Mexico.
The traditional sarape is made in the Mexican state of Coahuila in north-eastern Mexico, near the city of Saltillo. The Saltillo sarapes, blankets, and numerous other textile products often consist of a dark ground color–such as brown or black–adorned with bands of yellow, orange, red, blue, green, purple or any other bright colors.The ends of the textile products are usually fringed. New products can be purchased or vintage products collected for their beauty and craftsmanship.The Saltillo textiles are made by local residents of Saltillo. Their descendants trace back to the early Chichimecs, who migrated from northern Mexico (Chihuahua and Casa Grande area) to central Mexico (San Luis Potosi area to the Gulf Coast).
In Guatemala, "sarape" refers to a very soft rectangular blanket with an opening in the middle where the wearer inserts her head. Some sarapes are made with matching hoods for head covering. The length varies but front and back normally reach knee height on an average person. Available in various colors and design patterns, the typical colors are two-tone combinations of black, grey, brown, or tan–pertaining to the natural color of the sheep flocks grown in the highland regions, not requiring tint. Most design patterns are large with traditional Mayan motifs. Interestingly, this is not a typical garment for the Mayan highland people, who wear different clothing in cold regions. The sarape is more of an imitation of the Mexican poncho with a Mayan twist and their elaboration is specifically for sales to foreigners or city dwellers who feel attracted to the garment than as a useful warm souvenir of the Guatemalan highlands. The sale of sarapes goes through a broker process, where the Mayan families, who depend mostly upon agricultural work, manufacture small quantities for additional income. The brokers later display the sarapes at a higher price on local markets or the sides of highland roads in improvised huts. (The brokers are normally also Mayan people with intuitive business skills and the money to invest.) The appeal of the sarape may consist in the fact that these are woven by Mayan families, normally women, in their traditional house looms, giving the sarape a "handmade" look.